The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have
the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) Administrative law judge--An attorney who serves
as a hearings examiner in a due process hearing, including a release
hearing or Employee Misconduct Registry (EMR) hearing.
(2) Adult--A person aged 18 or older, or an emancipated
(3) Adult with a disability--A person aged 18 or older,
or an emancipated minor, with a physical, mental, or developmental
disability that substantially impairs the person's ability to adequately
provide for his or her own care or protection.
(4) Allegation--An assertion that an alleged victim
is in a state of or at risk of harm due to abuse, neglect, or financial
(5) Alleged perpetrator--A person who is reported to
be responsible for the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of
an alleged victim.
(6) Alleged victim--An adult with a disability or an
adult aged 65 or older who has been reported to APS to be in a state
of or at risk of harm due to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
(7) Alleged victim/perpetrator--An adult with a disability
or an adult aged 65 or older who has been reported to APS to be in
a state of or at risk of self-neglect.
(8) APS--Adult Protective Services, a division of DFPS.
(9) Capacity to consent to protective services--Having
the mental and physical ability to understand the services offered
and to accept or reject those services knowing the consequences of
(A) A guardian, representative payee, or other person
who by act, words, or course of conduct has acted so as to cause a
reasonable person to conclude that the person has accepted the responsibility
for protection, food, shelter, or care for an alleged victim;
(B) An employee of a home and community support services
agency (HCSSA) providing non-Medicaid services to an alleged victim;
(C) A person, including a family member, privately
hired and receiving monetary compensation to provide personal care
services, as defined in Texas Health and Safety Code, §142.001(22-a),
to an alleged victim.
(11) Client--An alleged victim or alleged victim/perpetrator
who has been determined by a validated finding to be in need of protective
services. The alleged victim does not have to meet financial eligibility
(12) Commissioner--The commissioner of DFPS or the
(13) Designated perpetrator--An alleged perpetrator
who has been determined by a validated finding to have abused, neglected,
or financially exploited a client. A designated perpetrator may be
eligible for inclusion on the Employee Misconduct Registry, when the
abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation meets the definition of
(14) Designated victim--An alleged victim with a valid
abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation finding.
(15) Designated victim/perpetrator--An alleged victim/perpetrator
with a validated self-neglect finding.
(16) DFPS--Department of Family and Protective Services.
(17) Emancipated minor--A person under 18 years of
age who has the power and capacity of an adult. This includes a minor
who has had the disabilities of minority removed by a court of law
or a minor who, with or without parental consent, has been married.
Marriage includes common-law marriage.
(18) Emergency protective services--Services provided
to an alleged victim who is also the subject of an investigation conducted
by HHSC PI under Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 48, Subchapter
F, to alleviate danger of serious harm or death.
(19) Emotional harm--A highly unpleasant mental reaction
with observable signs of distress, such as anguish, grief, fright,
humiliation, or fury.
(20) Employee Misconduct Registry (EMR)--A database
established under Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 253, and maintained
by HHSC that contains the names of persons who have committed reportable
conduct. A person whose name is recorded in the EMR is prohibited
by law from working for certain facilities or agencies in Texas, as
provided under Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 253.
(21) EMR hearing--A due process hearing offered to
a person who has been found to have committed reportable conduct for
the purpose of appealing the finding of reportable conduct as well
as the underlying finding of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
(22) Goods--Tangible objects such as food, clothing,
shelter and other items necessary to meet one's basic needs.
(23) HHSC--Health and Human Services Commission.
(24) HHSC PI--Health and Human Services Commission
Regulatory Services Division Provider Investigations.
(25) Home and community support services agency (HCSSA)--An
agency licensed under Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 142.
(26) Intimidation--Behavior by actions or words creating
fear of physical harm, death, or abandonment.
(27) Ongoing relationship--A personal relationship
(A) frequent and regular interaction;
(B) a reasonable assumption that the interaction will
(C) an establishment of trust, beyond a commercial
or contractual agreement.
(28) Physical harm--Physical pain, injury, illness,
or any impairment of physical condition.
(29) Protective services--The services furnished by
DFPS or by another protective services agency to an APS client, designated
victim, or designated victim/perpetrator, or to that person's relative
or caretaker if DFPS determines the services are necessary to prevent
the client, designated victim, or designated victim/perpetrator from
being in or returning to a state of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
These services may include social casework, case management, and arranging
for psychiatric and health evaluation, home care, day care, social
services, health care, respite services, and other services consistent
with Texas Human Resources Code, §48.002. The term does not include
the investigation of an allegation of abuse, neglect, or financial
(30) Purchased client services--A type of protective
services provided in accordance with Texas Human Resources Code, §48.002(a)(5),
including, but not limited to, emergency shelter, medical, and psychiatric
assessments, in-home care, residential care, heavy housecleaning,
minor home repairs, money management, transportation, emergency food,
medication, and other supplies.
(31) Release hearing--A formal due process hearing
conducted by an administrative law judge. A release hearing provides
a designated perpetrator with an opportunity to appeal DFPS's decision
to release information about him or her to persons or entities outside
DFPS, except for information released as required or allowed by state
or federal law or in accordance with this chapter.
(32) Report--An allegation of abuse, neglect, or financial
exploitation, as described in Texas Human Resources Code, §48.002,
which is made under Texas Human Resources Code, §48.051(a).
(33) Reporter--A person who makes a report to DFPS
about a situation of alleged abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation
of an alleged victim.
(34) Serious harm--In danger of sustaining significant
physical harm or death; or danger of imminent impoverishment or deprivation
of basic needs.
(35) Services--Activities provided by others, including,
but not limited to, cooking, cleaning, money management, medical care,
or mental health care.
(36) Substantially impairs--When a disability grossly
and chronically diminishes an adult's physical or mental ability to
live independently or provide self-care as determined through observation,
diagnosis, evaluation, or assessment.
(37) Sustained perpetrator--A designated perpetrator
whose validated finding of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation
of a designated victim has been sustained by an administrative law
judge in a due process hearing, including a release hearing or Employee
Misconduct Registry (EMR) hearing, or if the designated perpetrator
has waived the right to a hearing.
(38) Unreasonable confinement--An act that results
in a forced isolation from the people one would normally associate
with, including friends, family, neighbors, and professionals; an
inappropriate restriction of movement; or the use of any inappropriate